Is dark more delicious? Everything you need to know about dark roast coffee

Dark roast coffee sometimes gets a bad press – usually because people have had one that’s been done badly. Some roasters use dark roast to try to disguise poor quality beans, or just get the roast levels wrong, and the result can leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Quite literally.

But done carefully, and with the right kind of coffee, a dark roast can be delicious.

Here’s everything you need to help you decide if dark roast is for you.

What is a dark roast?

Dark roast coffee is roasted for longer than light and medium roasts, to bring out the natural flavours of the green coffee bean and add toasty, smoky notes from the roasting process. The resulting beans are a much darker brown colour with an oily appearance, as the longer the beans are roasted, the more of their natural oils come to the surface. Bad dark roast happens when the oils ignite, resulting in a burnt, rubbery and generally unpleasant taste. But if you choose coffee from expert roasters who know how to get the best out of every bean, the balance of natural and roasted flavours will be just right.

What should a good dark roast taste like?

Dark roast coffee is low in acidity but with plenty of body thanks to all those natural oils which give it a thick, creamy mouthfeel. The flavour notes and aromas of a good dark roast are what you’d classically attribute to coffee – notes like caramel, chocolate, nuts and warming spices - and they can be really intense. Dark roast is often used for espresso, to get full flavour and a thick texture, but a dark roast coffee will give those attributes to coffee made with other brewing methods too. It can withstand heat and pressure really well, so it’s a really versatile choice for whatever brewing methods you prefer. And it’s just as good for cold brew as it is for hot coffee.

Does a dark roast have more caffeine?

While a dark roast coffee might pack a punch flavour-wise, that doesn’t translate into higher caffeine – that’s down to the bean you choose and how you brew your coffee (you can read more about that in our blog here). However, because dark roasting beans reduces their mass, you might need to use more in each grind, which can mean there’s a little more caffeine in your cup.

How do I get the best out of my dark roast coffee?

There are lots of factors that help you get the best out of your coffee, regardless of roast. Keeping your ground coffee fresh (or grinding beans just before brewing), choosing the right grind size for your coffee making equipment, using the right ratio of coffee to water and giving your grounds the right amount of brewing time to extract the best flavours are all key to the perfect cup of dark roast coffee.

Want to learn more about the kind of coffee you like? Have a look at our other blogs to learn everything there is to know about coffee.


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